After the release of the trailer and teasers of KGF, cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda has found himself in the spotlight. In Prashanth Neel’s directorial, which stars Yash in the lead, the technician’s work has been speaking for itself.
He’s spent over two-and-a-half years working on the project, which has even involved living in smoke, dust, fire for 6 to 8 months. With just a few weeks for the release, this still photographer-turned-cameraman cannot wait for the big day. Ahead of the release, he gives us a low-down of how he was able to capture the director’s vision.
“Every shot of KGF was captured with a shoulder-held camera. While many prefer using steady cameras, neither the director nor I was keen on it. I risked carrying the heavy camera on my shoulders, but that helped in getting some hazy shots, which were required for the film. There were times I used to run with the camera on my shoulders. During lengthy shots, I even developed wounds, but the pain was worth it,” he says.
Bhuvan used the ARRI Alexa SXT, Phantom camera along with a Master Prime lenses. “We didn’t use any kind of Jimmy Jib during our shoot. For the aerial shot, I used my own drone, which I operated myself,” Bhuvan adds.
The cinematographer assures us that KGF will be a complete package in terms of direction, music, art work and cinematography. “Prashanth was involved in every shot, but at the same time, he had complete faith in the team. His confidence helped us give our best,” says Bhuvan, who, incidentally, started his career as a cinematographer with Prashanth in Ugramm.
“Till then I was only a still photographer. Prashanth asked me to give it a try, and it clicked. Generally, director tend to dominate technicians, but in this case, the director only expressed his vision, which we remained faithful to,” he says, adding, “After a recce and finalising the locations for KGF, Prashanth explained every detail of the film. Sometimes, we would give our own twist, which he never objected.”
The backdrop of this period drama, set in the late 70s and early 80s, has been mostly coloured with black an brown. “Both Prashanth and I don’t like the use of too many colours. Red was meant to show blood, otherwise, the rest is mostly black. We used ‘Japan black’, which gave a greasy look, and to an extent the retro and raw feel,” he says.
A series of episodes shot in KGF were shot using dust as the backdrop “We used compressors to raise dust to a height of 10 feet. Along with it, we used black smoke, for which we had brought in a kerosene machine, which were controlled by automatic motors. Many shots, especially the KGF portions, were never shot in one stretch. We would shoot up to 7 days and would get tired. Our longest schedule was of 11 days while shooting for these episodes,” he says.
He goes on to explain that when they shot outdoors, the crew didn’t use any light, and evening episodes was shot with just two Par lights. “We had lit the atmosphere with fire to shoot some fight sequences and a scene was just shot with only a light from a match stick. We’ve tried to use natural light sources for some episodes,” he says.
Bhuvan’s job didn’t end after the film’s shoot. “I am involving myself with the film’s release. As a cinematographer, I still have a lot to do for KGF,” he signs off.